The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

USPS Board of Governors Now Empty

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On December 8, 2016, Chairman James Bilbray of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors served his final day, leaving the board with no independent governors for the first time in its short history.  As of this writing, only the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General make up the members of the “independent” board.                             

The Board of Governors has rarely fielded the required nine members, but 2016 was a year with only one governor who was also not a postal executive.  The Board of Governors was a created by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 and is meant to act as an independent overseer of USPS activities.  Its duties include:  appointing (and removing) the Postmaster General, authorizing rate and fee changes for postal products, selecting firms to conduct financial audits of USPS, and appointing (and removing) the agency’s inspector general (OIG).

The OIG pointed out in a November 10, 2016 report that while this board has been more successful than its predecessor, the Post Office Department, but struggles to be relevant without a full complement of governors. 

Despite its $18 billion advantage over similar private-sector companies, USPS has struggled financially for years.  With dismal and dwindling service and an itch to stray into non-postal ventures, even a fully staffed Board of Governors may not be able to singlehandedly save the USPS from itself.  Taxpayers should push Congress to reform the agency with free-market solutions before it needs a costly bailout and push for full privatization; a vacant oversight board would never happen in the private sector. 

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